Obsessions

by | Mar 27, 2019 | 20 comments

Just after one-o-clock, I glanced up from my notebook and saw the rhythmic taillights of a small USPS Jeep outside my studio window. Its red lamps brightened and dimmed rhythmically through a misting rain and a spring fog which the afternoon could not shake off. The mail carrier stopped at each mailbox, and the lights pulsed, all the way down the long hill of my cul-de-sac.

I typed but a few more words before I remembered — Sawyer’s line should arrive today!

Moments later I jogged down the hill of my driveway with untied boot laces. I pulled up the hood of my sweatshirt just before exiting the carport and aimed for the mailbox with the excitement of a kid at Christmas.

And there it was. Mixed in with a few articles of junk mail and a bank statement, I found a small standard-white envelope which Sawyer had addressed as such: Domenick Swentosky, Esquire (a long-running inside joke that the mailman unlikely found amusing). On the way up the driveway I fingered the circular wraps of monofilament underneath stiff envelope paper.

Slamming the door behind me, I kicked off my untied boots in the sunroom and tore open the damp envelope on my way to the kitchen. After so much anticipation, there it was. Suffix Siege 20lb in Tangerine.

I spent the next ten minutes stretching, handling and tying knots with the new mono. I walked to the window to see how daylight changed the color. I noted its translucency vs opacity. And I thought long thoughts about whether clear-water, summer trout would spook from this material if I used it in thinner diameters as a sighter.

Later, I would call Sawyer and talk for hours about the properties of the orange(ish) monofilament in comparison to all the other lines. And oh my, there were a lots of other lines. We traded lengths of colored monofilament the way some guys trade flies, with the observational fascination and the collector’s bond of middle-school boys.

When Sawyer and I first started experimenting with long leader tactics, the mad-scientist ethos was sure to take over. This is the guy who logs his rods, reels and lines into a spreadsheet, who selects his daily fishing combo from a host of high-end options, with each pairing specifically designed for a certain job. And while I never fell to Sawyer’s addiction for purchasing and storing high-end gear, I happily joined his search for the perfect Mono Rig materials.

“It has a little more flex than Chameleon,” I told him after a few weeks of fishing the tangerine line. “But only in warmer weather — feels like it softens up in the sun. Doesn’t collapse though, and even in thinner diameters I think it will turn over Dorseys and dry-dropper rigs well if they aren’t too bushy. You know what I mean?”

Sawyer did know. In him I’d found a friend who shared my obsession for the little things. Because to us, such variances were not small. Because effortless line turnover is a beautiful thing. Because we believed in searching for the right tools until they were found. Because fishing and fishermen change as often as the river. And because perfecting imperfect things and chasing moving targets was fun. It still is.

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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20 Comments

  1. I once teased my dentist about her obsessiveness. Without missing a beat, she replied that I want a dentist with OCD.

    I’m a lazy slob in my fake life. But, in my real life, tinkering with tippets and hooks and sighters, I’m a dentist.

    Alex

    Reply
  2. Lol, I’m glad you’re happy, Dom. It brings a smile to my face to know there are folks out there like you and Sawyer keeping the lights on for guys like me. I was rummaging around the cave looking for line just the other day and came across a spool of Cortland Camo 4lb. The faded masking tape label indicated I bought it in June of 2003. I yelled “A-HA! Found it!” …I really do appreciate all the heavy lifting you guys do.

    Reply
    • Nice. Like you, I have boxes of stuff that I figured I’d never use again, but then there are those moments, years later, where you’re glad you kept it.

      Dom

      Reply
  3. Hey Domenick,
    I know where you’re coming from. Have you incorporated that into your mono rig? Have you tried it as a butt section, etc. etc.

    Reply
  4. Hey Dom! Have you tried trilene transoptic as a running line for the mono rig yet? I’ve been playing around with it and I like the color change properties it has and I feel the way it handles it could be the perfect substitute for maximal chameleon as your “butt” section or running line.

    Reply
    • Hi there.

      No I haven’t tried it. Will you send me twenty feet?

      Dom

      Reply
      • Yea I can send ya 20ft. Email me you address or a P.O. Box.

        Reply
  5. I spent the other evening knee deep in Valley Creek untangling a birds nest of a tandem rig after a series of what couldn’t even charitably be called “casts,” cursing Maxima Chameleon to the heavens. Probably wasn’t the Chameleon’s fault, but dammit, sometimes this pursuit is more maddening than golf. Not nearly as pointless, but had I been on a golf course, I probably would have thrown a club or two. 🙂

    Reply
      • Thanks Dom, I’ll tighten up the ferrules and work on that. I felt like I just couldn’t get enough “weight” or resistance onto the rig to build up a good stroke, and coils in the Maxima kept grabbing the butt of the rod (due in part to downlocker but probably mostly due to bad form). Been playing around with making butt sections out of Amnesia thanks to your recent post on different mono rig recipes. I’ll add some juice to the stroke and see how it goes. Thanks again…this site is a treasure.

        Reply
  6. Yeah, this is what’s great about fly fishing. From Tenkara to your mono rig, from the presentation vs pattern discussion, from the streamer junkies to the Zen dry-fly casters. It’s all good.

    Reply
    • Any style of fly fishing for wild trout would benefit from a zen-like approach. Most dry fly guys are anything but zen-like during the evening hatch. The ultimate form of stealth is predatory habituation, your zen, becomes the fish’s zen.

      Reply
    • Right on. And they all have their moments. No patience needed. Just persistence, to learn everything available.

      Reply

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